Trinity Women Upset Top-Seeded Princeton In National Semis by David Kingsley
February 16, 2013 New Haven, Conn.
– Rookies Sachika Balvani (Mumbai, India) and Kanzy El-Defrawy both
posted 3-0 victories to turn a 3-3 tie into a 5-3 match-clinching lead,
as the Trinity College Bantams pulled off a 6-3 upset win over the
top-seeded and previously-undefeated Princeton University Tigers in the
College Squash Association (CSA) National Championship (Howe Cup)
Semifinals this afternoon at Yale University’s Brady Courts.
Trinity, which had its regular-season finale against the Tigers
canceled due to last weekend’s blizzard in Connecticut, has a two-game
winning streak in the Howe Cup against Princeton, having won, 6-3, in
the 2011-12 Third-Place Match in the last meeting between the teams
before today. Trinity improves to its season record to 16-2,
while the Tigers fall to 12-1, having lost to only the Bantams in their
last 14 matches dating back to last year. Princeton will play
Pennsylvania in the Third-Place Match tomorrow at Yale.
Trinity, seeded No. 4 in the tournament, advances to the Howe Cup
Finals for the sixth time and the first time since the 2005-06
campaign. The Bantams will play No. 2-seeded Harvard, which
downed No. 3-seeded Pennsylvania, 6-3, in the other semifinal
today. In their regular-season matchup on February 6, Harvard
defeated the Bantams, 7-2, in Cambridge. Trinity, coached by
Wendy Bartlett (29th Season), won the Howe Cup in 2001-02 and 2002-03,
defeating Harvard in the 2001-02 Finals for its first National
title. Harvard, which has won 13 Howe Cups including the 2011-12
crown, boasts a Howe Cup Finals win over the Bantams in 2000-01.
Junior Wee Nee Low (Penang, Malaysia) shook off a 3-1 defeat in
yesterday’s 7-2 victory over No. 5-seeded Yale in the CSA Quarterfinals
to earn a win over Princeton sophomore Nicole Bunyan (Victoria, British
Columbia) by the same score, and sophomore Natalie Babjukova (Prague,
Czech Republic) improved her unblemished season record to 18-0 with a
dramatic 3-2 triumph over Tiger junior Lexi Saunders (Wilmington, Del.)
to give the Bantams a 2-1 lead after the first wave. Babjukova
rallied back from a 2-1 deficit with an 11-8 win in game four and a
12-10 victory in game five. Bantam senior tri-captain Robyn
Hodgson (Aberdeen, Scotland) salvaged the second wave with a 3-1 win at
the No. 5 position over sophomore Alex Lunt (Greenwich, Conn.),
knotting the overall team score at 3-3 two-thirds of the way through.
Balvani and El Defrawy took it from there, as Balvani won three
nail-biters, 12-10, 11-9, and, 12-10, over junior Alex Sawin
(Haverford, Pa.) in the No. 7 match, and El Defrawy dominated at the
top spot for an 11-1, 11-9, 11-5 victory over senior Julie Cerullo
(Brooklyn, N.Y.) who was ranked No. 4 in the nation individually at the
end of the last year.